Leh, Jan 14: The 230-kilometre-long Kargil-Zanskar National Highway will become an all-weather road as the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corp Ltd has begun work for its up-gradation and widening, officials said.
This is the second continuous year that the Kargil-Zanskar highway has been operational during the winter season.
This was revealed at a high-level meeting chaired by Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Commissioner Secretary (Road and Buildings Department), to review the progress regarding the corridor clearance for the ongoing project of up-gradation and widening of the national highway 301 Kargil-Zanskar road.
The widening project of the Kargil-Zanskar highway with the existing length of 234 kilometres spans 32 villages, they said.
The Commissioner was apprised by NHIDCL officials that award for the acquisition of land in two villages has been issued, 10 are in the process of getting awarded, papers on four have been submitted to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India, and in the remaining 10 survey work is ongoing, they said.
The project, with the desired length of 230 kilometres, has been divided into eight packages for execution. Once completed, it will ensure all-weather connectivity between Kargil and the remote Zanskar valley, they said.
"It will also prove to be a valuable infrastructure asset for the movement of troops and heavy weapons and equipment, especially on the completion of the Shinku La Tunnel," a senior official said.
It will be the shortest route to Kargil via Manali, Darcha and Padum areas, they said. Sahu said it will play a crucial role in the economic development of the remote region of Ladakh.
"Further promotion of tourism will also be possible along the corridor and in Zanskar," he said.
Regarding the clearance of snow on the road blocked due to the recent snowfall, the officials said that as of today, the 234-kilometre-long road, equipped with 58 machines and around 140 people involved in snow clearance, is now functional.